Luke 24: 1-12

Other New Resources

Illustrated Resources from 2019 to 2021

  • Back from the Dead

    by David Delaney
    a recent report from Spectrum Health Systems tells the story of a man named Jeffrey Born, aged 65, who seemed like a very unlikely person to develop an addiction, but who received heavy doses of painkillers while hospitalized for a life-threatening workplace injury. While still in the hospital, he developed an addiction to those medications, which he realized when the doctors tried to wean him off of them. The ongoing pain was so severe that it affected Mr. Born’s normal good judgment, and he began seeking other sources of pain management, eventually turning to heroin, the only thing that gave him some relief. His near-death experience came when he unknowingly injected himself with a much stronger drug – fentanyl – and immediately fell into a coma. His girlfriend, who was with him at the time, quickly called EMTs, who arrived in time to administer Narcan to save him, but the experience left him in a terrible dilemma...
  • Coming Out Singing

    by Kathy Donley
    An estimated 3 million people were affected by the quake, nearly one-third of Haiti’s population. More than 160,000 died. Morgues were overwhelmed by dead bodies. In the poorest country in the hemisphere, resources were simply inadequate to meet the need. In the midst of this, a man named Roger went looking for his wife, Ginette. She worked in a bank, which had completely collapsed. The building had fallen in on top of itself. For 6 days, Roger kept vigil on that site. For 6 days, he called her name. For 6 days, under 30 feet of broken concrete, in total darkness, Ginette heard him and responded “I’m alive. Help me. I’m alive. I’m alive.” Even though Roger never heard her, he convinced an excavator to clear piles of rubble. Finally, he found her, still alive. Then it took hours for professional rescuers to stabilize the rubble and extract her. They carefully lifted her out. And as her body cleared the opening, she started singing! Parched and frail, her voice still carried loudly enough to be heard through the TV camera. Buried alive for 6 days. Pinned down for 6 days. Total darkness for 6 days. But Ginette came out singing. And the words of her song were “Don’t be afraid. God is here.”...
  • Saudade: Through the Absence We Feel the Presence

    by Dawn Hutchings
    We don’t really have a word in the English language that captures the emotion that I feel when I walk the streets of Belfast. There is a word that I learned a long time ago, it is a Portuguese word: “saudade.” Saudade doesn’t actually translate into English. The best translation of saudade that I have ever come across is, the presence of an absence….the presence through absence. It doesn’t appear to make any sense. How can you experience presence through absence? Something is either present or it is absent. And yet, if you speak to anyone who has ever lost someone they love and they will tell you that that person’s absence is so intense that they can actually feel them, right here, deep inside. When a mother loses a child, the pain of that absence is so intense that she can feel the child she carried in her belly right here, inside. When a lover loses their beloved, the pain of that loss is so intense that the lost love is felt here, right her deep inside. When someone we love is gone, they are still here. We see them here there and everywhere. We catch glimpses of them on the streets. Sometimes we shake our heads knowing that what we see can’t be real, and yet we know it’s real. A loved one’s absence can be very present. Saudade, through the absence we feel a presence. Saudade...
  • Easter Sunday (C)(2019)

    by Richard Johnson
    Larry Phillips tells about a trip to a restaurant with his 6-year-old son. The boy asked if he could say grace, and of course his father said “OK.” They bowed their heads. “God is good, God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would thank you even more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And liberty and justice for all! Amen.” There were chuckles from surrounding patrons, but one woman said rather sternly, “That’s what’s wrong with this country. Kids today don’t even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!” At this the boy burst into tears. “Did I do wrong, Dad? Is God mad at me?” Dad assured him he had done just fine, that God was certainly not mad. Just then an elderly man approached the table. He winked at the boy and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer!” “Really?” the boy asked. “Cross my heart.” And then, in a theatrical whisper, the man tipped his head toward the woman who had made the remark. “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.” Well, of course there was ice cream for dessert. The six year old stared at his for a moment, then without a word picked up his bowl, walked over to the woman who had made the remark and set it down in front of her. “Here,” he smiled, “this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes, and my soul is good already!”
  • An Idle Tale

    by Anne Le Bas
    Imagine you are one of these women, reeling from what you’ve seen, or rather not seen, at that empty tomb, trying to get your heads around what you have heard. What reaction do you expect as you push open the door to the room where the others are gathered and begin to pour out your story? Surprise, joy, fear ?; but at the very least, surely interest, questions, demands for more detail. But that’s not what happens. Your extraordinary, unimaginable news is dismissed as nonsense, “an idle tale”, without so much as a moment’s thought. The Greek word Luke uses, leros, is about as insulting as it could be. It means rubbish, silliness, something too trivial even to bother with...
  • Memory and the Risen Christ

    by Christy Randazzo
    When the curtain opens again on the story with the sunrise on the first day of the new week, women emerge to make sense of the carnage. They intend on making meaning of it all through the ritual of preparing Jesus’s body for burial. They also demonstrated significant courage in going to the temple with materials to care for Jesus’s body, as marking oneself out as a follower of someone tortured and killed by the state is never a safe move, in any time. Through their insistence on engaging in the proper rituals of memory, even for a body destroyed by the state in a demonstration of their overwhelming authority, the women are claiming an authority of their own, a moral authority whose compassionate, sacrificial care stands in contrast to the blunt, faceless force of the state. They refused to allow the state to establish the “official” state memory of the event of Jesus’s death. Through their willingness to do so when no others—including the male disciples, it should be noted—were willing to risk the danger of stepping outside in a post-crucifixion Jerusalem, they claimed the right to remember the tomb as they experienced it. And what an experience!..
  • Resurrection Is for Dead People

    by David Russell
    Toward the end of the Vietnam War, a shell came in and exploded a young man’s body. The only thing left were his dog tags. They sent those dog tags back home to his grieving parents and a memorial service was held. Their only child had been killed. They couldn’t come to terms with it, especially since there was no body. The grief just wouldn’t go away. It wasn’t long before the war ended. Soldiers started to come home and the prisoners of war started to return. One day, the telephone rang. The woman picked it up, and the voice on the other end of the line said, “Mother, it’s your son.” Her heart stopped. “Is this some kind of cruel joke?” she asked. “Is this some kind of a hoax?” “No. It’s really me. I’ve been a prisoner of war, and I’ve just been released. I am calling to let you know that I am alive.”
  • Surprise, One Got Out!

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    Pastor Phil Callaway tells of driving his five-year-old son past a local cemetery. Of course, five-year-olds sometimes have an interesting perspective on things. Noticing a large pile of dirt beside a newly excavated grave, the boy pointed and said: "Look, Dad, one got out!" Calloway laughed at the time. But, he writes, ". . . every time I pass a graveyard, I'm reminded of the One who got out." (2) Surprise!

Illustrated Resources from 2016 to 2018

  • Easter Sunday

    by David Brooks
    “[He] was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that…[he] was dead as a door-nail….[of that] there is no doubt. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.” For those of you that are at all bookish, you will probably recognize the sentences I just quoted as the opening lines from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with Jacob Marley’s name dropped out.
  • Resurrection

    by Dave Dodson
    Imagine my surprise, then, when Waka Flocka gave an interview in September 2015 in which he decried his former materialism. In his own words, he recalls an experience in which he travelled to Africa and met a teenaged boy who had never owned a pair of shoes. Ever. Waka Flocka was absolutely stunned by this. As he put it, “That’s why I stopped wearing jewelry! I started traveling, I starting seeing these [people]. I was giving my diamond chains, breaking them apart! I’m dead serious. It changed my perception on life.”
  • Resurrection (Narrative)

    Podcast with Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker and Matt Skinner
  • Threatened with Resurrection

    by Kathy Donley
    Julia Esquivel knows something of that power. She is a Presbyterian poet from Guatemala. She has worked as a teacher, principal, and pastoral social worker. Because of her work on behalf of the poor and oppressed in Guatemala, she was threatened and harassed by police and the army for many years. She narrowly escaped kidnapping, arrest and assassination. Finally, in 1980, she was forced to go into exile to save her life. From exile, she continued speaking about the suffering in her country and the hope she found in the gospel. One of her poems is called “Threatened with Resurrection”. In it, she speaks of those who have been massacred and are now dead, as if they are threatening the living with Resurrection.
  • Believing in Resurrection

    by Owen Griffiths
    Bassam Aramin was five years old when he witnessed a cousin being beaten by an Israeli soldier. He grew up hating those whom he saw as the occupiers of his homeland. As a teenager, he actively provoked Israeli troops, often throwing stones and joining in anti-Israeli demonstrations. When some of his buddies began using live ammunition against government patrols, Bassam was rounded up with them and spent seven years in an Israeli prison.
  • Thin Places: Finding Words for the Mystery of Easter

    by Janet Hunt
    And yet, on one occasion, it was young Michael himself who found words to speak of that which first and finally gives us hope. Indeed, he could not have been more than three years old when he sat at a table with his mother and older brother, Andrew. Perhaps Michael was feeling left out. Or maybe it truly was something more when he announced that he had met Grandpa, too. "You did?!?" Sarah said, wondering at what he would say next. And Michael went on, "Yep," he replied. "I was coming down when he was going up."
  • Remember What He Told You in Galilee

    by Patrick Johnson
    A study published a few weeks ago related to Alzheimer’s treatment, indicated that researchers now know that memories do not disappear. The director of the center said, “Even if a memory appears to be gone, it is still there. It is a matter of how to retrieve it.” Even under the terrible disease of Alzheimer’s, the memories are still there. Life happens, the years pile one on another, but the memories don’t go away — they are simply submerged.
  • Easter's Other Women

    by Larry Patten
    Recently, a colleague showed me a video she’d found on YouTube, a snippet from Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s 2015 documentary “Human.” It’s a stark, face-the-camera, tell-the-tale scene. The narrator is Francine, an elderly French woman. A child in a Nazi concentration camp, Francine recounts an experience with another woman. The other woman’s name is never revealed. I won’t spoil Francine’s memories—take a few moments to watch it—other than to say one person, with something as insignificant and magnificent as chocolate, was transformed through a simple gift and gesture.
  • Grace Bats Last

    by Susan Sparks
    I am a big believer in shaking things up and approaching ideas through an unexpected perspective. Like the billboard I saw in Minnesota: It read, at the top, “Minnesota Cremation Society.” In the middle was a photo of a casket, and underneath, it read, “Think outside the box.” This year, let’s bring a fresh approach to Easter by using an unexpected perspective: Major League Baseball. Baseball has much to teach us about Easter...
  • Divine Comedy

    by Nancy Taylor
    Eugene O'Neill, great American playwright and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, wrote a play called Lazarus Laughed. The play tells the story of Lazarus after Jesus brought him back from death. As Lazarus is the first person to return from the realm of the dead, people want to hear from him, to hear his story. They want to know, "What was it like, Lazarus?" In his post-death life, Lazarus does have things to say. Among them, he tells people there is no death. But more than what he says, it is what he does that convinces people. Lazarus laughs.

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Christ in Vivo

    by William Sloane Coffin
  • Easter Is Hard to Hold

    by Patricia de Jong
  • Why Do You Look for the Living Among the Dead?

    by Rob Elder
    A little over twenty years ago now a book was published that carried the title Morning-Glory Babies. It contained the story of a community of Christians who took up a ministry with babies infected with the AIDS virus. The author wrote, “From the perspective of the media, death is the essence of the story about our children. ‘A Moment of Sunshine in the Shadow of Death,’ was a typical headline from newspaper stories about us. Upon finishing a story about the arrival of a baby girl named Melissa, one television producer asked if his network could have an exclusive on ‘The End of the Story.’” The end of the story. That is the way the world sees it, when they bother to look. But the founder of that AIDS ministry saw things through Easter-eyes. And he wrote of his deep frustration: “For me, ‘the story’ is that Melissa is beginning to walk, or that she sings duets with little David in an unknown language only babies understand.”...
  • The Empty Tomb

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("The story is told about a smart young college student who announced to a group of friends one day that he would believe nothing that he could not understand. Another student, who lived on a nearby farm turned to him and said: 'As I was driving into campus today, I passed a field in which some sheep were grazing. Do you believe it?'...")
  • What We Believe

    by Richard Fairchild
    In Russia a few years ago a railway worker accidentally locked himself in a refrigerator car. Unable to escape or to attract attention, he resigned himself to his fate. As he felt his body becoming numb he took a pencil out of his pocket and recorded the story of his approaching death. He scribbled on the walls of the car: " I am becoming colder... still colder... I am slowly freezing... half asleep - these may be my last words. When the car was opened the man was found dead, but the temperature of the car was only about 56 degrees. Officials found that the freezing mechanism was out of order and that there was plenty of fresh air available. Although there was no physical reason that they could find for the man had died. It was concluded that he had died because he had believed that he would die...
  • He Is Risen!

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("One of the many inspiring stories coming out of the Armenian tragedy is the account of a certain father. When the earthquake struck his village, this man raced to the school where his son was a student. There was no school building in sight, only a shapeless heap of rubble..." and several other illustrations)
  • Preparing for the Inevitable, Returning With the Unexpected

    by Peter Haynes
    When was the last time you managed to pull off a good surprise for someone else? To be honest I'm not the best in that department. But one time I succeeded. It was before Karen and I were married, and before her sister was to have a baby. The plan was to surprise them both with a combination wedding/baby shower. With instructions firmly in mind, my brother-in-law and I drove off one Sunday after church with our spouses in tow. Each spouse was given just enough information to get by. Each was told we were stalling for time; time for guests to arrive - guests for the other sister's shower. All during lunch and the ensuing miniature golf game, knowing glances were exchanged between Karen and me and my brother-in-law, and between her sister and her husband and myself. When we finally arrived and saw that all the guests’ cars were not even hidden a bit, knowing glances changed to question marks as each whispered what a sloppy job this "surprise" shower was. My brother-in-law and I bit our tongues. No attempt was made to hide a thing. It was so obvious that when both sisters approached the room they pushed each other in. "Surprise!" They were prepared for the inevitable (that a surprise was intended for the other). But they returned with the unexpected, (that they themselves were a part of the surprise)...
  • Easter Sunday

    by Scott Hoezee
    ["We are often too blasé when it comes to Easter. The minister says "Christ is Risen" and like Pavlov's dogs we respond, "Risen indeed" and we say it with some enthusiasm and conviction, perhaps, but nevertheless we often say it as though it's the most natural, logical, obvious thing in the world...")
  • Resurrection Joy

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several quotes)
  • Never Again Just Covering Up the Marks of Death

    by Janet Hunt
    ("As we were making our way back out of the funeral home, the funeral director stopped me to ask if I would like to see Annie. Although I did not know her well, still I had known Annie for probably thirty years. She looked as much like herself as one who has died, can, in fact. It was as we paused there that the funeral director drew my attention to her hands. And to be sure, they were not 'done' yet --- they were bruised and discolored --- not at all the hands of one who is alive...")
  • Idle Tales: A Matter of Perspective

    by John Jewell
    Jerry Norton (not his real name) was a thirty seven year old young man on the fast track to stardom in his Chicago based company. He was the father of two children and husband of a wonderful woman. Jerry was a nice guy, but a driven guy. He worked day and night, ate too much, slept too little and drank too much. He burned the proverbial candle at both ends. (Trying to light it in the middle as well!) He had a heart attack which he barely survived and found himself in the coronary care unit of the hospital. Six days into his cardiac rehabilitation program, his doctor came to his room to find Jerry dictating a letter to his secretary and giving her a list of phone calls to make and appointments to schedule. The doctor summoned Jerry's wife, children and the hospital chaplain and then read the riot act to his patient. Didn't he know what he was doing to himself and his family? Didn't he know better than to eat wrong, drink too much, go without sleep and never get any exercise? Do you know something? Knowledge was not the problem. Jerry's response to his doctor, his family and the chaplain was a repentant, "Yes, I know." A change in perspective comes from more than knowledge, it comes from the knowledge translating into experience...
  • The Smell of Easter

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("The thing which struck me most though, from our readings and poem tonight, was what Easter might have smelt like. Smell is one of the most evocative of the senses, almost impossible to describe, but unmistakeable and powerful in its ability to bring back memories, and conjure up moods and associations. What did Holy Week and Easter smell like?...")
  • Dawn of the Resurrected Dead

    by Sharron Lucas
    ("You may be wondering why in the world the title of this week's reflection is somewhat reminiscent of George Romero's classic horror/zombie film, Dawn of the Dead. Yes, it is quite a stretch in one sense, but do read on because there's method to my madness....")
  • *When God Breaks In

    by James McCrea
    ("In Russia, a few years back, a railway worker accidentally locked himself into a refrigerator car. Unable to escape or to attract any attention to his plight, he resigned himself to his fate. As he felt his body becoming numb, he took a pencil out of his pocket and recorded the story of his approaching death. Here's what he scribbled on the walls of the car: "I am becoming colder... still colder...")
  • Fact or Fantasy?

    by Rick Miles
    Here is just one example of someone whose life is changing. Today, he is a professor at Beeson Divinity School, and a former professor of history at the University of Denver, and USC. But Dr. Lyle D. Dorsett wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for a big fact he experienced on an Easter dawn several years ago. He tells about it in these words: “I opened my eyes to see the Sun shining on the gravestones. It was about 6:00 a.m. The birds were singing in celebration of a new day. For a moment I wasn’t certain where I was or how I got there. But then it came back to my foggy mind. The night before, I had been drinking in a bar. When it closed I took a six-pack of beer to go. Looking down on the front floor of my car I saw two beers left in the carton. Apparently I had pulled onto this unpaved road along the edge of the cemetery to finish my beer and sleep. Without pondering anything more than my powerful thirst and the cotton in my mouth, I reached down and pulled up a beer, popped it open, and drank deeply. Before finishing the can I started crying uncontrollably...
  • A New Heaven and a New Earth

    by Fran Ota
    ("In the first of the CS Lewis stories, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aslan the lion lies dead, and the two girls, Susan and Lucy Pevensie, are the only ones to be there with him as he dies. They stay, much longer than they should, and just as they are leaving, the stone table cracks in two - and when they turn around, Aslan is gone...")
  • Exegetical Notes

    by Brian Stoffregen
  • King of the Hill

    by Billy Strayhorn
  • Collections or Connections?

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Easter egg hunts are part of our most beloved childhood memories, even though they have very little to do with the real Easter. Or do they? Coloring eggs; that sweet smell of vinegar; getting those same six colors all over fingers, clothes, and countertops year after year. Then getting up early enough to compete against brothers and sisters to find the most baskets of eggs and goodies...")
  • We Serve a Risen [and Rising] Savior

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("This year the International Air Guitar Championships were held in Denmark. Contestants "played" before huge crowds, screaming devoted fans, and enjoyed World Wide Web exposure. The Air Guitar games are dedicated to world peace...")
  • The Good Part

    by Alex Thomas
    ("A family was watching the movie The Greatest Story Ever Told on television one night. One of the children was deeply moved and completely enthralled by the events of Jesus life. As Jesus struggled toward Calvary under the weight of the cross, tears rolled down her cheeks. She was absolutely silent and still until Jesus had been taken down from the cross..." and other illustrations)
  • From Perplexity to Amazement

    by Carlos Wilton
    (includes in-depth analysis of "perplexed, afraid and amazed")
  • Too Good Not to Be True

    by Carlos Wilton
  • Illustrations

    by Tim Zingale

Other Resources from 2019 to 2021

Other Resources from 2013 to 2015

Other Resources from 2004 to 2009

Other Resources from 2001 to 2003

Children's Resources

The Classics

Recursos en Español

Currently Unavailable